D.C. Cherry Blossoms

Need a day off campus before final exams kick in? Consider taking a day trip to Washington D.C. to see the sights and enjoy the cherry blossom trees, which are currently in full bloom. Though this is the second latest peak bloom since 1992, due mostly to the cold temperatures late into March, they are now fully blossomed and ready to be seen, and all the more reason to go what with the recent summer-like weather the area’s been seeing. D.C. has a lot to offer in addition to the cherry blossoms, and there are plenty of wallet-friendly options for students. The monuments are fun to see, the Smithsonian Institute museums are all free, the national mall, and nearby Georgetown for good restaurants and shopping. Not to mention, getting there is cheap on the Marc train, as tickets are only $7 per trip. Here is the link to the weekend schedule: http://mta.maryland.gov/sites/default/files/PENN-Weekend_Sched-Grid103013.pdf. Allow youself a day away to relax before finishing out the semester!

Loyola Unplugged Begins Today!

 

Loyola Unplugged is an energy reduction competition that will be held annually here at Loyola University Maryland. The competition is sponsored by Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN), a group that allows our university to either compete internally or between other universities across the county. In our inaugural year, we decided to host the competition between all the dorm buildings on campus. Our goal is to get students excited about reducing their energy consumption and to help them understand why it is important to do so. Energy usage is tied into many complicated systems and, ultimately, our energy consumption will impact every single person on the planet.

Loyola Unplugged will run from March 25th through April 15th, spanning three weeks. During this time, students can expect several different communications from the Loyola Unplugged organizing team. Digital signage will feature a different energy reduction tip each day, our Twitter (@LoyolaUnplugged) and Facebook (facebook.com/LoyolaUnplugged) will be a source for live updates, and the RAs across campus will be working to spread knowledge to their students throughout the competition.

We are really excited to be working with our campus partners and hope that we can expand that base in the coming years. We hope that, as our competition grows, it can become a cornerstone to student life here at Loyola.

Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference – Reflection

Last week the University of Maryland hosted the Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Baltimore, just steps from the Inner Harbor. Elle Everhart, the Program Assistant for Budget and Sustainability, was able to attend the conference and has had some time to reflect on the experience.

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I attended both the main conference days and the pre- and post-conference workshops. The conference was, as you can imagine, full of sustainability professionals that are working at their universities to create change across all areas of their campus. It was really inspiring to be among so many wonderful people and to have the chance to hear about what things they have accomplished at their schools. The sustainability coordinator from Texas A&M, for example, has started focusing on the social aspects to sustainability, educating students about human health and welfare and their connections to living a more sustainable life. The sustainability coordinator at Western Kentucky University has also created lasting change for her campus by partnering with a local farmers’ market.

Many of the ideas that were discussed at this conference are things that I would love to be able to bring to Loyola this year. From streamlining our Green Office Program, to creating a website, to organizing an entirely new marketing campaign around sustainability issues, I have a lot of ideas that I think will help push Loyola towards an “evergreen” future. Many of these are already in the works and updates will be available in the coming months.

While many of these colleges and universities are larger than Loyola, I believe that we still have the ability to make a huge impact in our community and for our planet. We might not be the largest university in the world, but if we are able to pull together and work towards a common cause, we will effect more change than we currently think possible.

If you are interested in learning more about what projects I am currently pursuing, or you are interested in coming out, please email me at sustainability@loyola.edu.

Thanks!

Elle Everhart

Illegal Dumping and Litter Control Law

On Tuesday, the Illegal Dumping and Litter Control Law, HB386, passed the House. The law would allow for 8 points to be added to the driver’s license of those found illegally dumping or littering from a motor vehicle. This is the same number of points for those convicted of DUIs and hit-and-runs, and most often, an instantaneous license suspension results! It is a hope that increased inforcement of litter laws such as this will decrease occurences of dumping altogether. Only time will tell until the bill is made law.

Could the Olympics Have a Positive Impact on the Environment?

With over half the world checking in to view the Olympics in Sochi this winter, it’s fair to say that the standards the host cities are held to are pretty high, particularly from an environmental standpoint. Billions of people are either watching or attending, and massive amounts of resources are used for building and presentation. Thus, there is great reason for leveraging the games and room for instilling creative sustainable methods. In order to hold the Olympics in Sochi, Russia was required to spell out sustainable intentions if they were to win the bid. However, in the past, countries have underestimated the costs of their sustainable goals and have been unable to follow through. The 2014 Winter Olympics provide an opportunity to encourage society to change bad habits together for a relevant and important cause. Only time will tell if the games will come to a close and the world will be better for it.

Green Valentine’s Day Ideas

At a loss for what to do for your special someone on Valentine’s Day? Consider one of the following green gifts and spare our environment instead of succumbing to the all-too-common notions of extravagance and consumerism.
■Theo Chocolates- fair-trade and made with organic qualities
■Environmentally friendly jewelry- all kinds of cool items can be found at the Inhabitat Shop and GreenKarat.com…check out their websites!
■A Pink Passion flower bouquet- visit organicbouquet.com to view this organization’s selection of fair-trade and organically harvested flowers

 

 

Welcome Back!

It’s the start of another semester at Loyola and we’re hoping that this will be our greenest semester yet! We have a lot of things going on and we’re excited about the progress that we’re going to make in the first half of 2014.

Loyola Unplugged

Loyola Unplugged is part of the national Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN)  competition that runs on college campuses every spring. CCN allows schools to compete internally or with other campuses across the country. Loyola Unplugged is going to be run internally this year and will be held between all the dorm buildings.

The competition window this year will be between March 24th and April 14th, giving us a three week period to measure energy use. During those weeks, we will be posting new energy reduction tips on digital signage every day, as well as planning fun events to help keep students engaged. Do you have any ideas for events you would like to see on campus during the competition? Submit your ideas!

Recycling and Composting

Recycling and composting are HOT topics on campus right now! We are currently performing another survey of all the quad buildings to determine the most appropriate layout for recycling/landfill bins on campus. Work in an office and want to get an update? Email Elle Everhart and have her come out to your next department meeting. We are currently developing new signage for the bins and new educational materials to hand out to offices across campus.

Composting is also currently in the works at Boulder. We are working with Waste Neutral, a company based in Baltimore, to remove our food waste from campus. We are going to begin our efforts with the prep area in Boulder’s kitchen and are currently developing efforts to move composting out to the student body. Have suggestions or want to help? Contact us!

Green Office Program

The Green Office Program is now in its second semester and we’ve made a lot of progress in the participating departments so far. So far, nine departments are participating: Facilities, York Road Initiative, Writing, The School of Education, Research and Sponsored Programs, History and Classics, Communication, Alcohol and Drug Education Support Services, and Academic Affairs. We are very excited to have these programs participating and we hope to expand our reach this semester.

In order to participate, offices fill out a survey that details what “green” actions the office already completes and lists what “green” actions the office would like to start pursuing. These surveys are emailed to Elle Everhart (Program Assistant for Budget and Sustainability) and she adds the office to the official list. Offices receive a monthly GO Rep (Green Office Representative) newsletter and are invited to participate in meetings during the semester (typically no more than one or two meetings per semester). Interested in participating? Email Elle Everhart to get started.

 

All in all, we’re glad to be back for the spring semester and we can’t wait to get started on all our fun projects!

Beat the Polar Vortex!

Does the recent blast of cold weather have you down? If you’re like most, the icy temperatures have made walking to class these past few weeks an agonizing process.  However, putting to use the number one means of sustainable transportation may be your solution: the bicycle.  Riding a bike will not only speed up your class commute, but will also be beneficial to you and your community in terms of healthy exercise and promotion of a more sustainable environment.  Loyola has many places around campus, near classroom buildings and dorms, where you can park.  While you burn calories and increase strength, enjoy the fact that you are helping yourself and the Baltimore community by not contributing to air pollution.